7 Ways of Finding Your Nemo

by Christos Tsolkas


I call it “The curse of being early”. It’s happened so many times in my life and career.

I come up with a great idea or a truly innovative project but it doesn’t resonate with others. Then, a few months or years later, the same great idea or innovation shows up somewhere else and hits the mark.

Why? Why!?!?!

Genius and Dots

I don’t think I’m a genius or exceptionally visionary whatsoever. Neither a Good Ten. I think a lot of people are in my shoes.

I know how I get my good ideas. If I have any small sample of genius, it’s for connecting the dots. Seeing patterns. Figuring out how different problems relate and how solutions can fit together.

I even believe I know where these ideas come from. The universe. It’s raining ideas all the time!

Many people are getting rained on too. That’s why those ideas show up in other places, sometimes to better effect.

If so, what can I do to make my idea happen? What gets in the way?

The Problem

I get passionate. When I’m interested in something, I go for it 120% with all my heart.

For some people, that makes me seem too pushy. I come across like a bull in a china shop.

Sometimes, it feels like I am “overselling.” This will “change the world!”

Other times, I seem too futuristic, “The world is going to look like this and we need to be there first!”

This is especially difficult in a bottom-line, hierarchical, strategic-planning kind of corporate environment.

If it doesn’t fit the budget, or the plan, or improve the numbers in the first place, it’s very easy to not take action.

If an idea is too far out or ahead of its time, it can’t become a priority.

It’s also hard to motivate people even when they agree with you. People may not shoot your idea down, but they also may not move on it. They kill it softly by procrastination. Maybe you haven’t figured out “the ask” to catalyze their involvement.

There has to be an answer!

The Recipe for Action

I’ve learned that it’s rare you will ever find someone to take charge of your idea except you. You need to build support and be strategic to give it momentum.

Most importantly, you need to move fast, fail fast and pivot when better opportunities come up.

In the entrepreneurial world, this is the model for the Lean Startup”.

In the corporate world, here are my suggestions:

  • Make sure you soundboard the idea with people you trust. Get feedback and refine.
  • Try to figure out potential corporate interest for the idea.
  • Create alliances inside and outside your company.
  • Develop a cheap prototype (a “Minimal Viable Product”) and test it.
  • Build your ask… what are the resources, time, other factors you’ll need to keep going?
  • Get some data, and design your pitch. I love this Pixar pitch.

 Once upon a time…

 Every Day….

One Day….

Because of that…

Because of that ….

Until finally ….

Just try it out and then rehearse, improve, rehearse, improve.

  • Figure out right moment and audience for your pitch.

You can create a lot of good will and enthusiasm if you follow these steps. If your idea hits the mark, you’ll be a lot more prepared to make something happen with your green light. So often in corporate environments, it’s the person who seems to have the answers and the plan that gets the nod.

Now fly!

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